Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Song to the Cynic

The loan signing of Arsenal's young Cameroon midfielder Alexandre Song was confirmed today, along with the astonishing news of an apparent £18million bid for Darren Bent from an increasingly frantic Alan Curbishley.

In common with most fans (including Arsenal ones) I don't know too much about Song, but based upon their demolition of Liverpool in the Carling Cup, at least we know he can pass and move which is frankly more than we can say for the rest of our midfield.

With regard to Bent, if the bid is for real then it presents an enormous dilemma for our Board in my view. It is all very well saying "..West Ham will stay up at our expense..." but that is missing a vital point in my view.....we are already in dire relegation trouble with Darren Bent (admittedly an injured one right now). I won't bore you with a soliloquy on 'expected value', but if you accept that with Bent we have perhaps a 25% chance of staying up, and without him we have perhaps a 10% chance then he's not worth anything close to £30million to us with a view to next season.

Whilst I accept that my post last week on transfer pricing only just stayed on the right side of complete gibberish, it did at least address the importance of understanding that a player's valuation is as much dictated by the needs (read: desperation) of the buying club, as it is by the perceived valuation of the selling club. This factor seems particularly relevant during this unusual January transfer window. Hence with West Ham's Icelandic owners increasingly panicky that they have underappreciated the depth of morale problems at Upton Park, this may be a valuation unique to this moment in time, which we have no chance of matching again. And if it takes a season or two of consolidation in the Championship to rebuild then so be it, because we run the severe risk of going there anyway, with that £18million bid just a faint memory.

We are also in danger of getting ahead of ourselves with regard to his ability. As we know he has a very good Premiership scoring record despite the inadequacies of some of the creative 'talents' around him, but he has no European experience and has an occasional habit of drifting in and out of matches. In my view, he is not as good as Scott Parker was when he left the club, and he thus remains the best player I've ever seen in a Charlton shirt. Now admittedly we have gone backwards since then, but that was as much to do with wasting some of the proceeds than Parker's departure.

Now I fully appreciate I'm probably in a minority of one in expressing this view, but if this bid is for real and largely represents cash up front then I feel we are being dangerously myopic in rejecting it. As Frankie Valley might say, I'm right aren't I?


At 4:05 PM, Blogger Wyn Grant said...

West Ham have now denied making such an offer

At 4:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

£18 million is a lot... but we need to keep him!!

At 5:14 PM, Anonymous The Red Darren said...

I don't like the sound of it - both clubs have categorically denied such an offer was made - which to my cynical mind means that frantic negotiations are ongoing and DB will be be sold to West Ham just before midnight tomorrow.

Not sure who was better for Charlton between P*arker and DB, however it would have been nice to have had D Bent instead of Carlton Cole in that team with Parker and Di Canio

At 6:14 PM, Anonymous Tillers said...

If the £18m is all cash then I'd be tempted. Good as he is, he is almost certain to leave in the summer irrespective as to which division we are in. If, however, it included Harewood (valued at £5m) and Mullins (valued at £4m) and £9m cash I'd hold out for the scramble in the summer when we offer him to the higest bidder.

At 6:31 PM, Anonymous Chris said...

18 million coupled with the parachute payment from the premiership will leave you in a great position in the championship. If you go down Bent will make a transfer request, if you stay up that is likely too. I'd be biting curbishley's hand off.


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